The US alliance structure would serve to constrain US President Donald Trump’s ability to negotiate directly with China, US academic Francis Fukuyama said yesterday in Taipei.
“There’s frequently talk about the need for some kind of G2, where the US and China negotiate directly to manage their relationship and I just think that that’s not a realistic outcome,” he said, speaking at a forum on US-China relations organized by former premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) Fair Winds Foundation.
“[This view is] sort of like what the European great powers did in the 19th century, when everyone else was just a colony of a European power and colonies were traded back and forth, but the world isn’t structured like this anymore — the United States has many alliances,” he said. “We don’t have an alliance exactly with Taiwan, but we certainly have a long-standing moral commitment, and you’re not living in a world where the United States is going to go to China and say that because we want X out of you, we’ll give you Taiwan or the East China Sea.”
While Trump is unlikely to abandon the US alliance structure, an attempt to force a renegotiation of cost-sharing might have more credibility than previous US administrations, he said.
“It’s actually very hard to undermine an existing big international institution — I think what’s going to happen is the United States is not going to invest any effort into expanding that set of institutions, and it’s going to continue to keep putting pressure on its allies to pay more,” he said.
While there is still potential for a “grand bargain” with China over allowing South Korea to reunite the Korean Peninsula while withdrawing US troops, Chinese negotiators have so far been unwilling to countenance the potential collapse of North Korea, he said.
Fukuyama also criticized the opposition of former US president Barack Obama’s administration to China’s establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
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